People power could help cut county utility bills

PEOPLE power could help Northumberland residents to reduce their gas and electricity bills.

The county council is working with 11 other local authorities across the country to create one of the first ever UK collective switching schemes.

It is currently gathering registrations from people who want to pay less for their energy.

Once details are collected, the partnership will arrange an auction where the energy supplier who offers the cheapest tariffs will win the contract.

After the auction, each person who has registered will receive a personal offer and can decide whether or not to accept it – there is no obligation to take the deal.

The price offered by the suppliers is independent of the number of participants who actually make the switch, although the more people who sign up, the more likely suppliers are to give an additional discount.

Coun Andrew Tebbutt, executive member responsible for corporate resources at Northumberland County Council, said: “We are very pleased to be able to provide this great opportunity for residents to get together and potentially get a better deal on their energy bills.

“A lot of people are still paying more than they need to for their gas and electricity and we hope that this scheme will help many residents to reduce their costs, which is increasingly important during these difficult financial times.”

After the deadline, all registrations are grouped anonymously and the energy suppliers submit their best deal.

Those companies taking part need to meet several pre-determined quality requirements to guarantee a smooth, reliable switch.

To register, you just need to provide your name, address and contact details, the name of your current energy supplier(s) and tariff(s) and your current consumption in KWH or spend (this can be found on your energy bill or statement).

Up to five households can register on the same email address, so people can help neighbours and friends who do not have access to the internet or emails. Details of those who register will only be shared with the winning supplier if they confirm that they want to switch.

The council has produced a leaflet to explain to residents what collective purchasing is and how they can register.

The auction is due take place on Tuesday, December 18, and all those who want to register must do so no later than Friday, December 14.

Details about how to register are available at

For more information about the scheme, telephone the county council on 0845 6006400 or email